IBM has announced new software and services for mobile devices that closely mimic desktop features formerly found only on the PC. Designed for both business users and consumers, the new offerings can help individuals make better business decisions faster, while connecting friends, work colleagues, and teams beyond what has been available in the PC era.
According to a recent report from IBM's Institute for Business Value, the number of mobile Internet users worldwide is projected to approach 1 billion, a 191 percent increase from 2006 and a compound annual growth rate of 24 percent. Also, 67 percent of all workers today use mobile and wireless computing.
To capture this market demand, IBM is combining its software, services and research expertise to develop new mobile products and services. The new software includes products with business intelligence, collaboration, social networking and business performance capabilities. In addition, IBM is providing developers with new tools to make existing software applications run on mobile devices. IBM's software is built on open standards so it can be used with most mobile platforms including BlackBerry, iPhone, Windows Mobile, and Symbian.
New Mobile Consulting Services
IBM is announcing new business consulting services to help companies manage a mobile work environment. Called [email protected], the consulting and implementation services can help employers increase productivity by as much as 30 percent and cut real estate costs, the second largest corporate expense after salaries and benefits. [email protected] helps increase the flexibility, efficiency, resiliency and employee satisfaction of companies by providing a mobile work environment that allows employees to collaborate across business and geographic boundaries while providing secure access to applications and connections to colleagues.
Automating services capabilities is a critical part of IBM's strategy. The strategy includes analytical software developed in IBM Research coupled with high-value consulting services to help organizations in different industries get up and running faster with tested methods to more quickly align resources to market conditions.
Using a combination of the new software and services, employees and executives on the go can have an instant view of how their business is performing, either at a company-wide or a very detailed business process level, depending on the person's role within the enterprise. Using collaboration software, that information can then be shared across a team and action can be taken, all using a mobile device.
For example, the vice president of a major retailer can use a mobile device to get a real-time view of the company's sales and corresponding inventory in a simple, single-screen graphic. A salesperson for the same company can view the current status for a specific customer or supplier. Both employees can exchange data and make buying or selling decisions on the go. The information provided on the person's mobile device is based on parameters established by the employee using easy to use, drag and drop tools.
Combined with business event processing software from IBM, companies can identify patterns and establish connections between events and then initiate a trigger when a trend emerges. A business event represents a slice of time, down to the millisecond, and could be something like a stock trade or online purchase. The role of event processing is becoming increasingly important because it enables companies of all sizes and industries to analyze and respond to minute market changes based on information being collected from millions of mobile devices.
To keep up with this exploding demand for new and more powerful mobile applications, IBM is taking advantage of recent advances in cloud computing, a paradigm in which tasks are assigned to a combination of connections, software and services accessed over a network. Using any type of device like an iPhone, BlackBerry or laptop, users can reach into the cloud for resources as they need them. Cloud computing allows users and companies to pay for and use the services and storage that they need, when they need them and, as wireless broadband connection options grow, where they need them.
"The mobile Web presents one of the largest emerging market opportunities we've seen in a decade as billions of people look to access a wide range of services both for business and personal use," said Drew Clark, director of strategy, IBM Venture Capital Group. "Utilizing software assets from IBM Research combined with our services offerings provides unique opportunities to help companies quickly adapt to the mobile environment."
IBM mobile software products include:
IBM Rational Business Developer can help developers create Web 2.0-style applications in Enterprise Generation Language (EGL) to run on a mainframe or mobile devices. EGL makes it easy for developers to build new applications, like mobile Web applications, or extend existing applications without having to be familiar with the underlying middleware or platform technologies, the company says. Currently, the Web 2.0 support for IBM Rational Business Developer is available as an IBM alphaWorks project.
IBM Rational Host Access Transformation Services (HATS) is software that helps developers transform green screen applications into a mobile user interface and Web services allowing end-users access to mainframe or midrange applications from a mobile phone, PDA or other remote mobile device in a highly secure manner. For example, an insurance adjuster can access claim details while on the road when previously this data resided in a terminal-based application.
WebSphere Business Monitor is business activity monitoring software that allows users to measure business process performance, monitor ongoing and completed processes, and report on business operations. It provides real-time information on customizable business dashboards to identify business problems, correct exceptions, and change processes to increase business competitiveness by improving process efficiencies. Business users can personalize their role-based, secure dashboards to view the key performance indicators, metrics and report that are important to their role - without involving IT. They can receive immediate notification alerts and take appropriate actions. Detailed reports are provided for more in-depth analysis. The ability to closely monitor key business performance metrics enables people to continuously drive improvement. WebSphere Business Monitor is now available on BlackBerry devices and will be available on iPhone in the fourth quarter of 2008.
These new products build on IBM's existing mobile software offerings including IBM Cognos 8 Go! Mobile which provides users with access to timely, secure, and personalized information on their mobile devices and operating systems, including BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Symbian S60 wireless. The software lets users view and interact with business intelligence (BI) content on these devices to increase their productivity and improve their decision-making when working remotely by accessing operational and strategic information about customer orders, product performance, and more.
Tivoli provides the Service Management software that is a key foundational element for managing the delivery of mobile based business services. This includes the full range of capabilities that allow for the management of the entire mobile network backbone, including the mobile network, mobile devices, as well as mobile based services. A combination of Tivoli Netcool/OMNIbus, Tivoli Monitoring, Tivoli Network Assure and Tivoli Storage Manager with the capabilities of Cognos Go! Mobile, for example, provides the ability to create a mobile "executive dashboard" reporting on key management data about a mobile based service, providing responsible executives the data and backbone alerts, where and when they want them and on any device they want to receive them on.
Providing this level of information on a mobile device, combined with external sources like weather, maps and stock market data is made possible through the use of IBM's mashup technologies and service oriented architecture (SOA). Using SOA and open standards, businesses can obtain this simple, enterprise-wide view since systems, business processes and people are linked together.
IBM's Mobile Web Expertise
The new software has been created based on IBM's extensive research and investment in the development of mobile Web products and services. IBM's India Research Lab specializes in mobile Web research and the new software has been developed through collaboration with IBM mobile Web experts in China, India and Japan where the markets are much more mature than the United States and other geographies. In addition, 40 percent of IBM's workforce is mobile and has provided a strong testing ground for mobile Web projects.
Many leading telecommunications providers, including AT&T, Bharti, China Telecom, Sprint, and Virgin Mobile, are using IBM software to improve the quality of service and to offer its customers new and exciting services. Many of these telecommunications services are built by IBM and based on IBM's SOA expertise. IBM's extensive experience and leadership around autonomic computing has also played a significant role in the development of the new software as the data shared with and constantly gathered by the millions of mobile devices trigger automatic responses based on trends and real-time information gathering. For more information go to www.ibm.com/software.